Michael W. Smith_Taylor

Michael W. Smith and Taylor Swift backstage at Nashville Rising

Tuesday night’s historic Nashville Rising event raised over $2.4 million dollars, and counting, for flood relief in Middle Tennessee. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were responsible for pulling together an evening of over four hours of music at downtown Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. An incredible list of artists, including Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, Toby Keith, Montgomery Gentry, Blake Shelton, Julie Roberts, Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jason Aldean and LeAnn Rimes, performed for a sold-out crowd with all artists and musicians donating their time and talent to the event.

Artists were limited to only a couple songs each, and McGraw’s band played for all of them, with the exception of ZZ Top. Celebrity video greetings were shown throughout the evening, with clips from Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey and Dolly Parton, among others. Sandra Bullock, McGraw’s former co-star in The Blindside, was the surprise guest of the evening, introducing Hill’s performance with a funny bit trying to play the guitar.

Smith performed “Place In This World” and the appropriate “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” while Grant performed current radio single “Better Than a Hallelujah” and a version of “Helping Hand” that included verses from “Jesus Loves Me” and “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love.” She was especially vocal about her Christianity that evening, speaking eloquently about the power of faith in our lives in the midst of hard times.

There were several other instances of faith-influenced lyrics sprinkled throughout the evening. While Carrie Underwood opened the show with her latest hit, “Undo It,” the country superstar’s second song of the evening was the one that jumpstarted her career, “Jesus Take the Wheel.” If that wasn’t enough, Underwood ended her set with a powerfully stunning rendition of “How Great Thou Art,” providing one of the most effortless vocal performances of the evening.